Respiratory Fit Testing

Updates & Insights for EHS Professionals

OSHA Requirements for Respiratory Fit Testing

OSHA requires that appropriate respirators be used either with or in place of engineering controls (if such controls are not feasible) during operations that cause breathing air to be contaminated with harmful elements (29CFR 1910.134(a)(1)). Employers should research and provide respirators that both correctly fit the user, and are appropriate for the working environment (29 CFR 1910.134(d)(1)(iv)).

To determine a respirator's fit, the user must complete respirator fit testing prior to initial use and at least annually thereafter (29 CFR 1910.134(f)). If the employee reports--or the employer observes visual evidence of--changes to the employee's physical condition (i.e., facial scarring, dental changes, cosmetic surgery, obvious changes in body weight, etc.), the employee must be subjected to additional fit testing (29 CFR 1910.134(f)(3)).

Respirator Fit Testing Methodology

Before an employee may be required to use any respirator with a negative or positive pressure tight-fitting facepiece, the employee must be medically evaluated then fit tested with the same make, model, style and size of respirator that will be used (29 CFR 1910.134(f)). OSHA requires a minimum of qualitative fit testing to be completed for employees that wear a respirator to complete their job tasks, however another testing method to ensure an appropriate fit is through quantitative fit testing. A quantitative fit test provides a numerical measurement for the amount of leakage into a respirator rather than depending on the user's senses like in qualitative testing.

We Offer Quantitative Fit Testing

STEP utilizes Occupational Health Dynamic's Quantifit II testing system and method of Controlled Negative Pressure (CNP) which has been approved by OSHA, ANSI Z88.10-2010, ISO and NFPA 1404.

The Quantifit II CNP testing system works by using a tube to pull negative pressure, and to keep the pressure constant, it pulls out any additional air that leaks into the respirator. This directly measures respirator leakage and this leak rate is converted into a fit factor. This testing method eliminates the need for particles, probes, wicks, and alcohol solutions that are required for older testing technologies. This system allows testing to take place virtually anywhere, so long as air is present, removing the concerns of lighting candles, blowing salt fog, or worrying about filtration systems.

Want to have your employees' respirator fit testing completed by us?

Schedule your next round of fit tests with STEP and experience shorter testing times and more precise results.